Canoeing The Upper Susquehanna River

In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.

We launched  from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!

The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.

Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.

On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.

Cheers!

Launching our canoes on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
We’ve just entered the upper Susquehanna river paddling north towards Cooperstown, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Taking a break on the Cherry Valley Creek Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Making our way back down the Cherry Valley Creek near Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
Dodging some rain and thunderstorms along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo
My friend Marty eases his Northstar Phoenix around one of several hairpin turns along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Canoe Camping

Over the past month we’ve had some really beautiful weather along with a few real scorchers thrown in. Back in mid June I had the opportunity to go canoe camping in one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks with my friends Gary and Amy.

Amy had gotten there on Thursday in order to secure a campsite. With the State Campgrounds shutdown the back country sites were filling up fast. She was able to get one of the last two sites on Follensby Clear Pond. Gary arrived early Friday morning and I got to the launch around 12:30 that afternoon.

I’ve read the stories, seen the pictures and dreamed of one day being here myself. My canoe loaded with the hope I didn’t forget anything, the register signed, my map spread out I was off on my 1.75 mile journey to our campsite at the northern end of Follensby.

Once at camp I set up so I would not have to do it in the dark later. Afterwards the three of us did a short paddle and carry over to Green Pond paddling under marshmallow skies above reflecting in crystal clear green waters below.

Back at our campsite and dinner cooking I was really eyeing Amy’s solo canoe. Most of my experience has been with kayaks and pack canoes. So as the fire in the sky flickered I asked Amy if I could take her canoe for a test drive. Amy paddles a 16′ 6″ Wenonah Prism ultra light kevlar that weighs 32#’s. From the first strokes of my paddle I fell In love with it. (I plan on adding this or something similar to my collection come fall)

Later that evening as we sat around the campfire the loons were pretty much at it all night. I retired to my tent around 12:30AM and was woken around 3:30AM just as a chorus of owls had joined the loons, their voices echoing through the stillness. Thankfully I was able to fall back asleep finally stirring around 7:00AM.

Gary was awake and boiling water for his coffee. I walked down to the lake scooped some water fired up my Jetboil and a few minutes later I was relaxing with a hot cup of Joe myself. Not too long after Amy would emerge from her tent as well.

Today’s plan would have us paddling a loop from Follensby Clear Pond to Horseshoe Pond, Little Polliwog Pond, Polliwog Pond and back to Follensby. This would be a very nice relaxing 7.15 mile adventure according to my GPS. We got back to our campsite shortly before a thunderstorm rolled through. Once the stormed blew over we had a wonderful evening again by the fire.

My original plan was to paddle out of camp on Monday morning and make the long drive home then. But it was Sunday morning (Father’s Day) and I was missing my boys. I decided to break camp, paddle out that morning and get home to have dinner as a family and hang with my sons, I made the right decision. Amy and Gary did the same as well.

This was a fun adventure with some great friends. With so many more places to explore I hope to get back there soon.

Cheers!

Getting off the North Way at exit 30 making my way towards the Saranac Lake area. © Joe Geronimo
Rolling along route 73 and Lower Cascade lake. © Joe Geronimo
All signed in at Follensby Clear Pond. @ Joe Geronimo

 

Loaded up and ready to head for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way along Follensby Clear Pond headed for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Arriving at our campsite. © Joe Geronimo
Canoe carry from Follensby Clear Pond to Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo (Check all that pollen on the water)
Marshmallow skies on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary, Amy and Amy’s dog Pungo on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry from Green Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Standing at the shore of our campsite the sun begins to set over Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling Amy’s Wenonah Prism under stunning skies.
Gary takes the Prism for a spin. © Joe Geronimo
The next day Gary setting off for our adventure. © Joe Geronimo
Amy making her way along Follensby Clear for the Horseshoe Pond carry. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry to Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy and Pungo paddling on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
My view of Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary carrying from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy’s turn to carry from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & Gary putting in on Little Polliwog Pond. And yes Little Polliwog lives up to its name. © Joe Geronimo
Gary & Amy Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & I exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Finally the canoe carry from Polliwog Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond.
After the thunderstorm moved out I took another spin in Amy’s Wenonah Prism. © Joe Geronimo

 

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Camp Meal

I really do not like dehydrating food, I find it to be more hassle than worth. However since I have a lot of free time these days I decided to dehydrate some food to pass the time.

Packing light weight is an integral part of my canoe camping adventures. Some of my trips require carrying distances between ponds and lakes. One way to keep things light are dehydrated meals.

I did some experimenting with pasta and sauce. It rehydrates really easy and packs a caloric punch after a long day.

I started with one pound of cooked rotini pasta, a 16oz jar of pasta sauce plus 4 more ounces, one can sliced mushrooms drained and 1 cup frozen peas. I used rotini because a lot of the research I’ve done shows that it holds the sauce better. After cooking, draining and letting the pasta completely cool I combined all ingredients in a bowl covered it with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge overnight.

The next morning I spread the pasta over my dehydrator trays and let it go for 9 hours. Once dehydrated I put it into a ziplock bag and weighed it. It weighed in at 18 ounces.

Yesterday afternoon I weighed out 8 ounces and began the rehydration process. Once the water was boiled I covered the pasta leaving just a little exposed, covered it and let sit exactly 20 minutes. The rehydration time was just about perfect and the taste was great. My wife even enjoyed tasting it as well.

Maybe this dehydrating food isn’t so bad!

 

The Struggle is Real

Since the beginning of the year I have been running consistently and on a plan. I’ve also noticed small gains as my fitness slowly makes improvements. However I’ve also paid more attention to my bad runs where I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging. In the past this is something I have not given any attention so I am intrigued to say the least.

My “Bad Runs” runs that I believe should have felt less effortless or where my heart rate seems higher than it should are due to several things in my opinion.

#1. Sleep or the lack of: Most mornings I get up at 0330 to be at work by 0430. I find it very difficult to go to bed before 8PM. I’m currently getting on average 6 hours per night. When I come home from work I try to take at least a 2 hour nap most days. I feel that sleep or proper rest plays a HUGE roll in the quality of our lives.

#2. Feeling Rushed: If I don’t give myself down time between work,life, etc and a run my heart rate has the tendency to be higher as well. I firmly believe if there is not a transition period that this definitely affects attitude, approach and performance. Also time constraints fall into this category as well.  I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

#3.Fear: Fear of getting hurt again rules the roost here, as does fear of failing in my workout. This is just a major part of my personality or as my wife calls it “The Mr. Excess” clause. As much as I want to say she’s crazy I can’t because she is 100% correct. Over the years I’ve struggled with this in many aspects. I’ve had this predetermined notion if you aren’t running big miles or fast paces you’re really not running. This is absolute foolish thinking on my part and a major reason of why I’m always injured.

The Positive: This past Sunday was my long run (8 Miles). This would be my longest run in well over a year. I got a good nights sleep, woke early and took the time to do my pre-run stretching, rolling and mentally eased myself into the workout. I was rewarded with a great run!

As I move forward I hope to learn and grow with this process. I also hope that even when I have a bad run/workout I can move past it and live for the next day.

Question: Do you struggle with anything similar?

Cheers!

Long run (8 Miles). This was a great run in my opinion.
My go to breakfast and post run fuel is:
“Chocolate Oatmeal” with raisins. 1 cup quick oats, 1 ounce serving raisins, 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips and 3 packets Stevia sweetener.

 

 

Winter Hiking

Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.

A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.

We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.

The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.

Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.

Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.

We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.

Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.

I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks  in the future.

Nancy signing us into the trail register Blue Mountain Lake, NY © Joe Geronimo
Paused to take in the view as I make my way towards the summit of Blue Mountain. Photo by Nancy Lyons.
Nancy snaps a few photos as well. © Joe Geronimo
Arrived the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo
The 35 foot Blue Mountain fire tower stands encrusted in Mother Nature’s fury. © Joe Geronimo
The view of Blue Mountain Lake and others from the fire tower’s cabin. © Joe Geronimo
The summit of Blue Mountain provides a window into the eastern Adirondack high peaks. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way back down the trail from the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo

 

Snowshoeing Nick’s Lake Loop

Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.

As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.

I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.

The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.

Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.

This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.

Cheers!

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” trail register Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail. © Joe Geronimo
Frozen silence at the Nick’s Lake canoe launch Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
I love how the snow clings to life on the Tamaracks along Nick’s Creek. © Joe Geronimo
Here I’m crossing a portion of Nick’s Lake Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Undisturbed beauty along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo
6 miles along the Bisby Road and Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY.
I closed out my day at one of my favorite places, Fulton Chain Craft Brewing http://www.fccbrewery.com in Old Forge, NY. This is the Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale, that is so damn delicious I brought a crowler home with me. © Joe Geronimo

Winter Wonderland

It has been over a year now since I’ve put my snowshoes on but this past weekend I cinched them up and headed out to play.

First I hiked with my son Michael out to Nanticoke Lake in the Lisle, NY. Michael had to take some photographs for his college photography course and we thought this would be a great little adventure. Spending time with my son was the highlight of my day.  We had the entire place to ourselves! While we were out there taking in the beauty of our surroundings Micheal remarked to me “Dad it is so quiet out here, there is literally no sound what so ever”.  I simply responded “Exactly”!

I loved watching him dash and bound through the snow exploring things to photograph. It was even more entertaining since he doesn’t have snowshoes.

My next adventure for the day would be a 3 mile solo hike of the IBM Glen. The snow had clung to the trees like powdered sugar on a tasty dessert, truly a winter wonderland. I did see one couple hiking the trails and one person cross country skiing but that was it.

It had been so long since I was out winter hiking I forgot how much I enjoy it and cannot wait until I can get out again.

Cheers!

Starting our way into Nanticoke Lake. © Joe Geronimo
Michael behind the camera. He’s my Winter Cardinal. © Joe Geronimo
Mike working his shot. © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying the solitude at Nanticoke Lake. © Michael Geronimo
Nanticoke Creek flows under soft pines Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Nanticoke Creek Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way through the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
The serenity of the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
The sound of water soothes the soul at the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo
Nothing better than a trail beer to finish a great day outdoors! © Joe Geronimo

Lake Colby

Part 3, Lake Colby a 272 acre lake located in the village of Saranac Lake, NY is a beautiful place to paddle, camp and swim. There are three primitive campsites along the shores of Lake Colby as well the village beach. New York State operates a boat launch and fishing access; there is a ten horsepower limit for motorboats.

Hope you enjoyed this short film series!

The canoe in this series is a 14′ Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” pack canoe that weighs in at 24#’s. She’s light, comfortable and paddles exceptionally well.

Visit http://adirondackcanoecompany.com

 

Map courtesy of https://andyarthur.org